I admit it. I’m just as guilty as the next person at times for using the wrong lingo when it comes to the online business world.

This was brought to my attention the other day when talking to one of my coaching clients. She emailed me after asking what the difference was between an independent contractor and a subcontractor because I had said I don’t subcontract anymore.

Those who are new to the online world may not know what the right terms are for different areas, so let’s clear some of it up today.

Independent Contractor: One who is hired to perform a specific task or set of tasks directly by a client.

Subcontractor: One who is hired by an independent contractor to perform tasks for their clients. (Prime example would be a Virtual Assistant being hired by another Virtual Assistant to complete their client work.)

Virtual Professional: One who is a support person for an entrepreneur. This is an umbrella term that groups together Virtual Assistants, Online Business Managers, Graphic Designers, Web Designers, Business Coaches, Copywriters, and so on.)

Virtual Assistant (often referred to as VA): A business owner hired as an independent contractor (or sometimes subcontractor) to perform behind the scenes tasks for entrepreneurs. Tasks routinely consist of sending newsletters, managing email, minor web design, creating funnels, etc. The VA may have skills that fall in other areas such as graphic design, copywriting and web design, but those terms are not to be confused with a Virtual Assistant.

Example: A VA may be able to write copy, but a Copywriter does not have Virtual Assistant skills. They ONLY write.

Online Business Manager (often referred to as OBM): A COO of sorts. The OBM manages teams, projects, and the client. They are strategic and help create strategies and systems. They monitor budgets and ROI. They watch analytics. They are an entrepreneur’s right hand.

Graphic Designer: One who specializes in the art of graphic design.

Copywriter: One who specializes in the art of copywriting.

Web Designer: One who specializes in the art of web design.

Business Coach: A mentor of sorts who helps guide the entrepreneur along their journey. The coach helps to pull information out of the entrepreneur with direct questions. They offer suggestions and advice and it’s entirely up to the entrepreneur as to what they choose to do with it.

Business Consultant: The consultant helps create strategies but also helps to implement them. This can coincide a bit with a Project Manager.

Project Manager: One hired to manage a specific project and bring it to fruition. Example: I am hired quite often to manage the process of building a telesummit. It is my role to oversee the team and manage all the moving parts of the summit and ensure it is completed on time.

Did I miss a key term? Share in the comments below!